tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN March 30, 2013 7:00am-8:00am EDT
>> guest: let me say this about c-span first of all. i said to brian lamb many years ago, this story, this c-span is one of the great contributions to democracy because we have all voices expressing themselves and it is important, that we have the opportunity to hear all of those voices. i think the heritage foundation force is a voice to be heard. i wouldn't even argue against slice of life television offerings. and as long as they are
proportionate. and up the american population, and other kinds of poverty. if we're talking about the less pleasant expression this from the cultural range. let's cover the whole range and north and south and cover everything and see the whole picture but that is not what is happening. the way i see it particularly in the black community that is not what is happening. i am just saying that we have to have better representation in the room which decisions are made about what to cover and how to do it and how it will portion time and resources to each piece of that. we are not going in the right direction there. we are going away from that
direction as far as i can see. in the print industry and television, vol thing, some facility to get people to knowt some facility to get people to know what they need to know. so often we find the world knows more about people -- when i got to tanzania in 1970, i recall talking to a kid who is 14 years old. his name was godfrey and he approached me in the street and started talking to me about thomas jefferson and jeffersonian democracy. i was stunned. because there were teachers i knew and americans generally who couldn't find tanzania on a map. they know more about you than you know about them.
that is sad. exceptionalism has cost us a knowledge of much of the world. one can liken to your years in high school when you knew the kid who finished ahead of you but you can't remember anybody who was in the class behind you. we happen to think because people are poor or less important, it is a sad state to be in. >> guest: gus, facebook page. with all due respect i think your words further and try to many blacks to find excuse instead of getting to work and doing better. we all have our in justices to overcome. you are speaking of 200 years ago.
hart senate office building let's objectify this. use human rights language. the criteria were not just raise but raise, color, religion, gender and say we're going to select people by gender or religion. or nationality. we are going to take all the people we confined and inflate them for 246 years and follow that with the period of slavery
and legal segregation and take away their names and then rename their group so they're no longer africans but they become some strange, odd label negros, whatever that is, wherever that came from, they will be known by that. and so they lose all their tradition, all of their more raise -- mores, the yeses and nos about what to do and not to do and how to do things from the dawn of time. and they don't know themselves anymore. doesn't make any difference whether they're black or not. take his profile, do that to him
and see where his descendantss fall after 2.5 centuries. it has nothing to do with any particular race, it would happen to anyone treated in that way. this is not personal. i am not saying that anyone has a responsibility, any individual has any responsibility for what happened, began to happen a long time ago. i am saying our government is corporate. it is an institution. it benefited and it has a responsibility. if reparations were paid, i am a taxpayer, i would be paying. i am not suggesting that i would
get reparations. i don't need repair. i am saying those who have been crushed to earth would get some recognition of what happened and some opportunity to repair themselves. why else do you think we see this disproportionate success-failure gap? wealth, assets gap? we know that people are equally, naturally endowed. that can't be the problem. how else could it have happened? 43-1/2 centuries of slavery. >> host: your first nonfiction book "defending the spirit:
black life in america," you write it is no longer fashionable to say it, i am obsessively black. raise is an overarching aspect of my identity, america made me this way but more accurately white americans havemy identity this way but more accurately white americans have made me this way. i am a regarding white people with irreducible mistrust and dull deflect. >> guest: that is right. when i was a little boy, i remember at the age of 5, people started to talk about race. i thought was absurd. i couldn't distinguish one from the other. people are people. but the winds, as i say, they
registered the need to s, as i registered the need to surface and things areound s, as i say, registered the need to surface and things ares, as i say, they registered the need to surface and things are forgotten in the conscious mind their remembered in other places. this question about what i wrote has to do with an involuntary reflex, that one is a member of a group that did horrible things to me. and to my mother and my father and everyone i knew. does that mean permanent status? no. but that is a reflex and would be for anyone subjected to the kinds of things that we were and
still are being subjected to. >> host: pascal, miami, you are on with randall robinson. >> caller: good afton in. i am a haitian american living in south florida. i have been a follower of your work for quite a while. and undergraduate school, when i was in college doing the south africa protests and spoke with your work and i remember you vividly at that time in 1986. my first question is currently we have the first black president. how you feel about the fact that our first black president is sending american troops into 35 african countries and almost a complete silence on the part of
the black intelligentsia and the black elite in that regard to the point where they would actually be astonished by the fact that someone with a track record and the amount of blood on our hands, african blood on our hands, susan race would not be appointed secretary of state considering the history she has be appointed secretary of state considering the history she has related to the african continent, particularly that damaging history. >> host: your other question? >> caller: my other question regarding haiti. the fact that our current relationship with haiti, we are out forcing our rulership of that country to all these other
entities. what do you see as a possibility in this current situation to resolve the difficulty in terms of america basically having destabilized haiti for the majority of the 20th century and what could be done? you said we should leave it alone and by which it had been simple but i don't see that as the reality. >> host: do you have one more? >> caller: my last question is how do we possibly awaken the spirit of not so much black underclass but the elite and educated and have become in this political age so complicitous in the silencing of any dissent from what is happening in the world and domestically facing our people and people throughout the country who are suffering under the policies of the current administrator. >> guest: maybe i should start
with haiti. when i said perhaps we should just leave it alone, i meant alternative to what we have done 200 years, even frederick douglass couldn't puzzle out why we had been so hostile. the speech he gave in chicago to the world fair in the 1890s was a speech that would be appropriate now as a matter of fairness when talking about the asian president, it sounded as if he knew president aristide and knew what had befallen him but that is standard fare from the u.s. over the last 200 years. and why? what distinguished haiti from the rest of the caribbean? in the rest of the caribbean,
democratic, stable government with friendship from the united states and open government where all the freedoms are enjoyed, speech, religion, all the rest. haiti is an extraordinary place. it is eight million people. it arts are world class, haiti has everything going for it. why has thes arts are world cla has everything going for it. why has the u.s. singled out haiti for this kind of program? i am not sure any of us have figured it out. perhaps it is on a strategic water passage that causes it to invite such intense interest
from the united states. perhaps because haiti has gold and diamonds and perhaps oil and all of that offshore. perhaps that has something to do with it or perhaps it has to do with the eighth of that jefferson, georgeorge washingto others except for thomas paine and spoke out against what the u.s. was doing to haiti because haiti had the temerity to strike out on its own and stand up and remain african. haiti is the most african country in the caribbean. its idea of its religion is when you die you will return to
guinea because they still remember africa. it is art. its arts is inspired by africa. haiti is a country of a thousand proverbs. when an is inspired by africa. haiti is a country of a thousand proverbs. when an african proverb has been forgotten throughout the diaspora, it invites almost a anger of western society and particularly in france, they remember jean jacques desoline, sadly i went to school in jamaica to speak to high school students in jamaica not far from haiti and asked a group of 15-year-olds if they knew who that was and they said not a hand went up and i asked if they
knew who snoop dog was and every hand went up. they knew nothing of the extraordinary story of the haitian people to whom we owe so much. it still seems to golf united states and the western community. for that reason i am suspicious this vicious -- suspicious of our embrace of haiti. it bothers me and it is extreme to say what i said but sometimes one has to wonder if they would be better off if america left them alone. next question. >> host: president obama's africa policy. >> guest: i am concerned about that. i just think when you get
american military involved with your military, the disengagement does not come without consequences. typically these things lead to bad ends and for the country involved. when your country becomes of strategic usefulness to the united states you find the management of your own democracy will be infinitely more difficult to administer. >> host: the complicity spirit of black elites in america and how to awaken them. >> as i have gotten older, i have become more disinclined to
judge people. the judging i do is i try to make it of myself usually. i think most of us, when we are doing things that others would feel are not the right things to do we do out of an absence of knowledge, of consequences of what we are doing. most americans irrespective of race know very little about what goes on in countries around the world in response to american policies. american opposition, american aid, american involvement, often these things, it is not a constructive relationship, not in the country's interests, but
you don't know because you are ill informed. there is very people in america that would afford you opportunities to be well informed. we demonize the un usually even winston churchill at the un's beginnings said that it is better to do that than war. the un is a wonderful opportunity for the entire world to gather. to disagree sometimes raucously in what is not a neat process the necessary process to resolve disputes. we have got to embrace its. got to embrace our differences and embrace these human-rights conventions but we don't do that. we almost celebrate our ignorance. i am talking about all of us of
all classes, whites and the blacks from the top of government to the bottom of society. we do that. because we are the most powerful country in the world we do the world no service when we do that. leadership should be principles and we should recognize our opportunities leading to save us from ourselves. we don't know the point at which we will have done so much damage that it will become unlivable. when we have overheated the environment so irreversibly that no one can live here. but we can't support the kyoto accord which may be in its self too little too late.
we can't because we are exceptional and we listen to the one on anything. it is the worst kind of devastating stupidity that one would want to see in a country we like to describe as the greatest country in the world. in a democracy we all have a responsibility. we are all democrats. we all have to make it accountable for what it does which means we all have to be enlightened. we all have to know something about what it is doing and then participate. i don't think we do that very well. we seem to be diverted by the most frivolous stupidities. television has done a
disservice. >> host: in "defending the spirit: black life in america" you talk about reading people by looking at their face shakes, characters of their face, the shape of their face whether it is round or angle. >> did i say that? i can't do that. may be read their of language to me. >> host: i hope -- not just making that up but i will find it. >> guest: i wrote that a long time ago. i can't remember. >> host: nancy in california, go ahead. >> caller: randall robinson, you are a marvelous wonderful human being. i would like you to comment, i have so many things i would like you to comment on but particularly on mr. obama's policy regarding the drones, lecturing to black people, his
support of wall street and retroactive in unity to telecoms. i am very disheartened about this. the most important thing is why did mr. obama tried to strongarm the president of south africa to keep president aristide there? watch amy goodman in democracy now. i have 100 points for you but i said i can't bore mr. robbins and with all my frustrations but thank you again. and again and again. >> host: presidenthas to be applauded. >> guest: he did everything to respond to president aristide's wishes to go home. he and his wife mildred and their two girls had been in south africa for a long time.
the south african government has to be a wonderful hosts but they wanted to go home. i can read president obama's mind. i don't know why he expended energy and resources trying to block president aristide's home coming. it was a violation of human rights law and said the so. i disagreed vigorously with the president on his role. >> host: got to defend myself. in "quitting america: the departure of a black man from his native land" you wrote -- this wasn't as important as i thought it was -- when i was a small boy in grammar class i developed a diversion of grouping people by the arrangement of their facial features. some cases were constructed of
eyes, mouth, nose, actions, chief and skull that were involved. smaller number of faces bore only the shapes, planes and angle of consonance. the vast majority of cases fells way to nature's best disposition to mix and match. vowels were rounder shape and continents were straight line that cornered, vowels were warm, consonants were cold. >> guest: that is very true. i wrote that. i felt that way and i fought everyone did. that before that first impression is overturned by access and knowledge, faces that seemed to deliver a certain message, that faces that have aquiline sort of straight
geometric kind of slashing exactness to them that give you the impression of precision and rectitude and scientific perfection and all of that. then there are round faces with soft features that are warm and fuzzy, that seem to suggest something else, all of which is totally illogical and makes no sense once you get to know the person behind the faces but this was the child's game, see how often i could come close to the truth in my reckonings. i don't know how well i did. you think there's any chance of a science behind any of this? >> host: i have no opinion on anything except that i did read it and underline it. that is all i care about.
bridget posts on our facebook page. i am writing this for gene adams who is a 76-year-old black man who has followed your brother's career. he would like to know where he can get a picture of you and your brother. brigid goes on to tell mr. adams's story born in louisiana, raise in what, feels there is injustice in america and beside the picture bridget concludes it this way, america talks about the founding fathers as if they were not slavers who also sold their black children because of a color of their skin. what country has moved on with total equality for blacks where a man can be a man? >> guest: many have. one of the conflict of living where i live is i don't feel a
burden, that social mobility is quite accessible. it is a wonderful space and a wonderful democracy and shows what great qualities can come to small places. i don't know how to answer that question about america. i do think power as frederick douglass says, power concedes nothing without a demand, never has and never will. it is probably true advantage always expresses itself in an effort to maintain itself.
and people learn not to know each other so as to be able to dismiss people's sufferings that they have relegated to another place and seen to them unseen t what happens. i used to wonder why people were being so cruel to us. what must they be like? when i was a 15-year-old grocery boy i took some groceries to a home somewhere in a distant white community. i had to take them to the house. the family was in the kitchen.
are noticed they had an oven on the wall in a brick wall. i had never seen a wall like that before. my family was -- my father was a teacher but we had four children so we didn't have a wall. as the family began to talk about intimate things, right in front of me, and i was insulted by it because they spoke of these things has if i weren't there. i was invisible. what does that tell you about
people? we still show movies in america, turner classic movies, movies in which black characters, always from the 1930s, that register fresh with me still, black characters, males always scared out of their skins, the eyes bubbled wide it, scared of everything that the white female characters aren't afraid of and black women characters are always compulsorily huge and overweight while white characters, female characters
are always petite and pretty. and all of the and grinning and bowling and scraping. it is just as offensive to me now as it was when i was of little boys, but they still show it. >> host: should not be on tv? >> guest: it should not be on tv. it was humiliating them and, it is humiliating now. but it makes money. >> host: laura tweets in to you, randall robinson, a bush started the aids program in africa, the one good thing he did in foreign policy. >> guest: i suppose i would
concede that. i don't know what else to say about president bush. i don't think he was concerned substantively about a great deal of things and certainly not about black issues. so i am at a loss for words to comment about that, about. . >> host: rodney, go ahead with your question or comment for randall robinson. >> caller: it is a pleasure and honor to speak with you. the reason i was calling is a black -- black wealth disparities in the american bank system where we lost most of our wealth and assets due to fraud in the housing sector and lower wages. under the obama administration why african-americans are doing
worse under his administration more than the previous administration? >> guest: the unemployment among blacks is now 16 plus%. so whites are doing marginally better, blacks are doing significantly worse. the question is how much of that do we ascribe to the president? there are other market forces and factors, i suppose. but that is a good question to put to the president. i should say at the same time that nobody wants more than i do to see president obama succeed. it is very important to the black community that he have a
successful presidency and i think to some extent that is why blacks have not been disposed to be harshly critical of him, because of things we might think he should have done but has not done. i think the political space he operates in is very small on these kinds of issues. and i don't know if he is willing to push out that space to do more things but it is a question he would have to answer. but objectively i don't think there is any question that if one uses employment as a measure, blacks have done worse
than virtually every other community since the beginning of his presidency. >> host: alfred in thomasville, alabama. >> caller: how are you? >> guest: fine, how are you? >> caller: fine. i have a couple questions and a comment that the end. first question is where is longitudinal latitude? >> guest: you know where san juan, pr is? about 300 miles due east of san one. >> caller: which cruise line would you recommend? >> guest: they all come there. i don't know much about that. >> host: you don't much recommend tourism. let alone a cruise line. >> guest: all of them come, pick one, it will be there.
>> caller: second question, this is fact checking. did you go to school with patricia boyd evans and zip kerri? >> guest: i don't think so. >> caller: when your dad was coach? >> guest: moses knoll i knew well. he is a good friend of my sister. so yes, i knew him but the others, i am not so sure. i've left high school over 50 years ago. >> host: where did that question come from? >> caller: i am married to one of his schoolmates, named theresa. >> guest: is that right? >> caller: and i will let someone else come on. you introduced yourself to the
cyberworld and i'm going on your web site and following your books and using them in my class. >> guest: i am first to cellulite need help. >> caller: i will. and i will recommend your cruise line. >> host: that was alfred in thomasville, alabama. speaking of your web site, i forgot, bridget had asked for the gentleman who wanted a picture of you and your brother. is there a contact, a way of contacting you and your web site? >> guest: a picture together was taken by ebony magazine along time ago in a studio in chicago, they did several pictures of us. i don't have a copy of one of them but they still have them in their files.
>> host: "defending the spirit: black life in america," august 1982, just want to read a couple lines. the family is worried about mac. he has become rich and he is a journalist but read the news. >> guest: he wanted to do all of that. and wanted to interpret the news and being asked to accept the role of reading copy and wasn't happy with that. >> host: when did he die? >> guest: it has been 20 years. he died when he was 49. >> host: of aids? >> guest: yes. >> host: you write about aids in some of your books and where is all originated and where it
began. what i your thoughts? >> guest: it is terrifyingly prevalent, in poor communities, and it is now a real terrifying force in women's situations to women's health and a big factor in prison life and certain states not allowing last tom abbott, condom use for prisoners in prison because they don't want to come to terms with the
incidents of sex in prison in bringing aids home to their lives. that sort of thing. these are big issues that trouble us. aids is less talked about than it used to be. there is still no cure, one can take a cocktail of medicines and control it if you don't have full-blown disease. it is a big problem in poor communities and in poor countries in africana as well. >> host: sharon in denver, booktv on c-span2 with the randall robinson. >> how are you doing?
>> caller: it has been an and lightning couple of hours. i appreciate it. i want to point out, a little bit ago, made the comment about to paraphrase, still whining about it. a couple years ago. and the nature of the question tying in to the issue. if you look at what has happened under the auspices of foreclosure. and done the analysis of the impact of foreclosure in the
black and hispanic community. and $360 billion, and a few years later talk about pretty close to 400. and not only is reparation, to put on the table, at the very same time. and the hispanic community. and prospect of quite a few years, even further back than tulsa, in the 20s. >> guest: it has been devastating. what it means to a family's
financing, and that is the safest place to put it. i can't agree with you more. and to be reassured that something will happen there should be some recourse to make these people whole, to be on the horizon. and ims concerned about as you are. >> host: this e-mail from brooklyn. excuse me, mr. robinson, you seem like a brilliant, awful, committed and well-intentioned man. i learned many things listening to you that i did not know and should have been more publicized. i am sympathetic to your cause
but i have a problem. my question is this. how can you expect to ever produce a generation of black youth, psychologically capable of overcoming the terrible wound inflicted upon your people when you keep picking off the stand, when you keep passing on to your children the victim mentality which i am sad to see you still maintain? >> guest: i don't know what to say. i don't think i can satisfactorily answer that question for that person. i don't try to answer that question frankly. i think those who have endured, those who have been wounded, those who are in trouble know
what i am saying. they understand it. so why even try to answer that question? >> host: diane in brooklyn has a second question. 5 going to read one of your books which one should be? >> guest: i don't know what to tell diane in brooklyn. she doesn't seem to have an open mind. i would ask her to read "the debt: what america owes to blacks". after she has read it, she might be thought about these things. she can understand how we convey
from one generation to the next the disabilities that have been sustained. everything we do we come by from our parents. when our parents are cripples, so is the child. hurt people hurt people. when you have space to love, when you are whole enough, you always begin by loving someone. to love yourself you have to know your story. when i was a little boy and hadn't heard of timbuktu and then discovered its significance
and the significance of effort and its antiquity, that all of greece's god came from egypt and all of egypt's came from ethiopia before the dawn of time, it's science and math and literature, so much borrow from ancient egypt. when i was a child, and i needed to know these things just as whites need to know about in ancient rome or ancient greece or ancient any thing, that people who look like them accomplished and take away. they need that, so do i..
i don't need to know what their people did. i need to know the story of my people. >> host: heidi in freeport, maine. go ahead with your question and comment. >> caller: thank you so much, mr. robinson. i appreciate the work you have done against apartheid and whatnot. as a berkeley alum, not just a fan but a friend of danny schechter, a producer of africa today, i would like to know how you feel music played in the fall of apartheid and what you think of the current endeavour of building a divot is embarking upon in oil companies from assessment portfolios. >> guest: when you mention danny sector, i haven't seen danny in
a number of years now. when i was in law school at harvard and we have taken over the president's office in harvard for a week, the president was ago friend, derrick had vacated his offices and 30 of us stayed in the administration building protesting harvard's holding of gulf oil shares and its portfolio because of what golf was doing to assist portugal in its warmaking against angola and mozambique to win independence from portugal. danny was a real staunch speaker on these issues at the time. this investment is always a good tool to use trying to win social
goals. i don't think the south africans were able to understand anything of that we were saying as long as we were saying something was unjust or wrong. when they saw it affecting their bottom line and we were able to get past punishing sanctions, then we knew the beginning of the end was at hand. i always think that economic strategies are good to employ. we were told we receive just wouldn't work. the assistant secretary of state for africa was saying without constructive engagement was the best way to go forward. simply talk to the south
africans about it being nicer and we said that hasn't worked and you have tried it for a very long time. let's try something. in a moment the sanctions were passed and the bottom line was affected, south africa began to become a new nation and new society. i think that can happen on so many matters you are trying to change. >> host: why did you not accept the honorary degree from georgetown university that you were offered? >> guest: i got there that day, george what is his name? ted. i opened the paper and found out i had come all the way from the caribbean to accept it and i was deeply honored. a black member of the georgetown administration had worked so
hard to make this possible and i was profoundly honored. i got up that night and opened the paper to see that george tenet was to be honored. he was of course instrumental in making this illegal and immoral war in iraq. the blitzkrieg bombing of iraq, thinking about innocent civilians beanies all of those bombs that lit up the night, the war against iraq was opened. justification was a spate of lies before the united nations to make this possible with the figleaf of security council
cover, was outrageous and despicable and i thought the value of the honorary degree from georgetown had been lost for me and so i came up the next morning to meet with the georgetown people to tell them that i couldn't accept it and i caught a plane and went home. >> host: kathleen in new york, a couple seconds left. >> caller: great pleasure to speak with you. it has been inspiring listening to you. and for most if not all of the
square. it is healthy and it is:manhunts it is free and i have really enjoyed the great privilege of living there given to me by my dear loving wife to be a participant in the process of her wonderful country. >> host: a minute left, tad in indiana how many african heads of state have been met in the last 20 years? the post cold war, opposed 1990s leaders which ones impressed you the most? which ones have disappointed? >> guest: is impolitic to answer that question because i am not in politics. i don't have anything to lose and i have always felt that
somehow i ought to be open to say what i think. i will not say things when people have accorded me an opportunity to meet with them. i will not say things that will be offensive to those people later on. i had my feelings hurt before and i know what it feels like and i don't think that is useful. >> host: we will close the program from "quitting america: the departure of a black man from his native land" randall robinson writes i tried to love america, its places, it's well ordered merrill, its surplus efforts, but i could not love the place. i could not love a thing. no one in good health can. imagine a world of material wealth devoid of people. what is to love? nothing. i tried to love america, its people, the dominant majority, their depiction of me, their
treatment of mind. i tried to love america but america was not the ancient african whole of me. i came to note too much of her work. i tried to love america, its credos, ideals, its process that these things could mean no more to me than they had to had conceived them, written them, recited them and ultimately betrayed them. then i stopped trying to love america. i'm not despair at the moment for with it has come a measure of an expected contentment that settled upon me like an ancient ancestor ceremonial robe, warm and splendid and as old as time, mislaid but valued all the more for its belated retrieval. randall robinson, thank you for being on "in depth". >> guest: thank you for having me. >> you are watching booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and